On Tuesday, Senior US officials told impeachment investigators in Congress they were worried about President Donald Trump’s effort to get Ukraine to investigate a political rival. A White House official calling it a “shock”.
The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee carried out the third day of impeachment hearings marking the first time that officials from inside the White House publicly expressed their misgivings about a freewheeling pressure campaign that now threatens Trump’s presidency.
The top Ukraine expert of the White House said that Trump had made an “improper” demand of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July 25 phone call that has become the centerpiece of the Democratic-led impeachment probe of the Republican president.
Army Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman said that “Frankly, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was probably an element of shock that maybe, in certain regards, my worst fear of how our Ukrainian policy could play out was playing out.”
His judgment was attacked by the White House’s official Twitter account, undermining the same man the administration appointed to lead its European affairs brief at the National Security Council.
During Tuesday’s hearings, two other senior White House aides, Jennifer Williams and Tim Morrison stated that they were concerned by the political nature of that phone call. Trump’s call with Zelenskiy was considered as unusual and inappropriate by Williams because “it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.”
However, Morrison said that he did not see anything improper in the call but was concerned that its contents could leak, hurting bipartisan support for Ukraine. “I wanted access to be restricted,” he said.
Trump asked Zelenskiy in the call to carry out two investigations that would benefit him politically. One is to target Joe Biden, former vice president and his son Hunter Biden. However, Trump has stated that his call with Zelenskiy was “perfect”. Thee Republican lawmakers have condemned the impeachment process.
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters, “What’s going on is a disgrace, and it’s an embarrassment to our nation.”
Republican US Representative Francis Rooney told reporters, “I don’t think there’s been a crime proven yet. … But I want to see what happens. There’s still a lot of water to go down this creek.”